Sunday, March 17, 2013

Donegal birthday fun

 It is a bit bittersweet to be doing all of our lasts, but alas it has to be done, so here we are faced with celebrating my last birthday in Ireland :(  With it being the day before St. Patrick's Day, Ireland is a fun country to celebrate my birthday!  As it is a national holiday, I get a day off of work!  So with our three day weekend, we piled in a car with our friend Mark and drove Northwest to Donegal.  My friend from work so sweetly offered us her country home to stay in for the weekend!  Although it was surrounded by barren countryside, the house was far from roughing it!  What a beautiful and rugged part of the country!  We drove and drove and did a bit more driving through the countryside.  With every twist and turn along the curvy roads, new & breathtaking scenery appeared.  Donegal is filled with a variety of landscapes, from flat, white sandy beaches to rugged and rocky mountains, to cliffs leading to the Atlantic waves crashing below.  We visited the Glenveagh National Park which had a beautiful castle which had been visited by famous Americans in its prime, which is quite an accomplishment since they traveled across the Atlantic by boat, then boarded a train, and ended the trip in a horse and buggy. This place is in the middle of nowhere, making it quite the journey!!!!  That night, Mark *so kindly* treated us to the most delicious meal we have had yet in Ireland!  It was 5 courses of pure yumminess at Castle Murray Restaurant!  Thanks again Mark!  

On St. Patrick's Day we toured again, driving down south through small towns painted with green decor (seeing many leprechauns along the way) to Slieve League Cliffs and ended our night at Leo's Pub, which is owned by Enya's dad.  It is a popular, local pub to hear traditional Irish music.  After a pint and a wee bit of music we headed home to sit by the peat fire, the perfect way to end our trip.  

The rugged beach landscape

The first fine-sanded beach we've seen in Ireland

Beach front houses

Long stretching beach

Walking, walking, walking...

Blue skies!

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh Castle

Rugged countryside

Obsessed with these doors

Small town St. Paddy's Day celebrations... I spy with my little eye 6 leprechauns! 
As you do, unashamedly, on St. Paddy's day in Ireland

The town showing their support for their local Irish football team

Driving through Glenn Cholm Cille

Classic thatch-roofed house
Glenn Cholm Cille Viewpoint

In love with the juxtaposition of the hard and soft (I think I may be watching too much Project Runway!)

Slieve League Cliffs around the corner
Now if it were only warm!

Stumbled upon Malin Bay

Southern cliffs in Donegal

The boys getting it done (Mark in style)!  Get that peat a roarin'!

Roughing it in the rugged country house :)  Someone has to do it!